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Advanced Techniques for Nanocharacterization of Polymeric Coating Surfaces



Xiaohong Gu, Tinh Nguyen, Li Piin Sung, Mark R. VanLandingham, Y C. Jean, Jonathan W. Martin


The applications of AFM and nanoindentation on study of surface property of polymeric coatings have been demonstrated. The surface microstructure of several coatings was characterized using tapping mode AFM, and the morphological change of coatings during degradation was monitored with the exposure time. The results have shown that tapping mode AFM is a powerful technique for coating characterization with nanometer resolution because it can not only provide direct spatial mapping of surface topography, but also provide nanoscale microstructural information that reflects the property differences of heterogeneous coating materials.The capability of AFM on chemical heterogeneity imaging was also investigated. A small volume humidity chamber was used to control the tip and sample environment. The results have shown that the phase contrast between the hydrophilic regions and the hydrophobic areas can be enhanced by increasing the humidity of the environment, thus the sensitivity of AFM on surface chemical heterogeneity would be improved with the aid of the humidity chamber. Further, the application of nanoindentation instrument on the studies of surface mechanical properties, such as modulus, hardness and scratch resistance was also shown. It is believed that information from these nanoscal characterizations would be constructive for a better understanding on coating degradation mechanism, and therefore improving the service life performance of polymeric coatings.
Proceedings Title
FSCT ICE 2003 Proceedings of the 81th Annual Meeting Technical Program
No. 3
Conference Dates
November 12-14, 2003
Conference Title
FSCT Meeting


afm, characterization, nanoindentation, nanoscale, polymer coating surface, uv degradation


Gu, X. , Nguyen, T. , Sung, L. , VanLandingham, M. , Jean, Y. and Martin, J. (2004), Advanced Techniques for Nanocharacterization of Polymeric Coating Surfaces, FSCT ICE 2003 Proceedings of the 81th Annual Meeting Technical Program, [online], (Accessed April 22, 2024)
Created July 1, 2004, Updated February 19, 2017